Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Secret In The Sea Chest

Some people do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. I had no plans to do this, but I'm starting to think that I will have my own theme this month: No Blog November. Two and a half weeks ago I gave myself a good cut on my finger and I've been unable to knit since then. Most of what I like to show off on the blog is knitting. The other thing I like to talk about are outings and trips, but with all the moving, that hasn't happened either. But there is a silver lining to this knitless cloud I am currently on: I have been motivated to work on projects that don't require my left index finger. Specifically, I've been meaning to refinish the inside of my big, black sea chest for a few years now. I found myself with some time and motivation. While stripping the deteriorating wallpaper that covered the inside, I came across newspaper that was stuffed into a large knothole. It looked so small all wadded up, but when I flattened it out, I was quite surprised to see how much there was.

Looking at the typefaces, I knew it was old. My guess was initially around the 1920s. The paper was in good shape despite the musty odor that had been in the trunk. Connor and I started reading it to figure out how old it really was. Based on the ads, we quickly determined that it was probably from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It also was probably published just after October 12th since that number appeared quite often. But figuring out the year was a little tougher because we only had the bottom of the paper. When we found this news story about Governor Mitchell from Florida, we were able to narrow down the year to somewhere between 1893-1897. Connor further surmised that it couldn't have been 1897 because Henry L. Mitchell was out of office by January of 1897 and our paper was from October.

A bit more reading finally helped us determine the year it was printed. Based on when the schooner Sea Foam had capsized we discovered that the paper was published in 1894.

I was impressed to discover that the trunk is at least 121 years old, if not older. Also, that it had moved around the country. I had bought the chest in Oregon and assumed it was originally from there. But if the paper was put in the chest in South Dakota, it had to have traveled over 1850mi/2970km before I purchased it.

5 comments :

kiwiyarns said...

Wow!! That is fascinating!

Alicia said...

That's pretty incredible! Excellent detective work.

Alina Sayre said...

So cool! I'm impressed that you guys figured it all out :)

Elaine said...

So cool!

woollenwilderness said...

That is such a cool find!

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